Dog Food Nutrition

Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies

October 20, 2018

Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies

It’s completely normal for your dog to scratch once in a while – we all do it. But if your dog seems to be scratching frequently, or if you notice other symptoms like dry skin or hair loss, it could be something more than just the occasional itch.

Skin allergies in dogs are more common than you might realize, and they could be linked to a surprising cause – your dog’s diet. Food allergies in dogs typically present with skin-related symptoms which can be a little bit confusing at first.

Keep reading to learn more about skin allergies in dogs and how to choose the right dog food top treat them.

You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for skin allergies.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

ImageProductFeatures

Editor's Choice

The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe
  • Made with a limited number of human-grade ingredients
  • Contains novel sources of protein and carbohydrates
  • Highly digestible and rich in essential fatty acids
View Best Price

Best Affordable

Rachael Ray Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb
  • Made with just 6 main ingredients including novel protein (lamb)
  • Supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • No artificial additives, corn, wheat, or soy
View Best Price

Best Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey & Potato Recipe Puppy Food
  • Made with novel protein and a limited number of ingredients
  • Supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Highly digestible recipe and supplemented with probiotics
View Best Price

Best Small Breed Dog Food

Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Small Breed Recipe
  • High protein content
  • Grain-free to reduce the risk for skin allergies and sensitivities
  • Contains a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin health
View Best Price

Best Large Breed Dog Food

Nutro Limited Ingredient Large Breed Adult Recipe
  • Novel protein, chicken-free, and limited number of ingredients
  • Highly digestible with grain-free carbohydrates
  • Supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
View Best Price

Understanding Skin Allergies in Dogs

When you think of food allergies and the related symptoms, you probably think of digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. In dogs, however, food allergies most commonly present with skin problems like frequent scratching, sores and hot spots, hair loss, dull coat condition, excessive shedding, and recurrent ear infections.

Dogs can develop allergies to any food ingredient, but they are most commonly triggered by corn, wheat, chicken, beef, soy, and dairy. Many dogs are also sensitive to grains and GMO ingredients. The key to treating your dog’s skin allergies is to find a food that doesn’t contain the offending ingredient and that includes plenty of skin-supporting nutrients.

Here are some of the things to look for in a dog food for skin allergies:

  • Quality Ingredients. One of the biggest causes of skin problems in dogs is an unhealthy diet, often from low-quality ingredients and artificial additives. Look for a recipe that lists a quality protein first with digestible carbohydrates, healthy fats, and no artificial additives or fillers.
  • Novel Proteins. A novel protein is simply one your dog hasn’t had before. Switching your dog to a recipe with a novel protein my help relieve skin allergies so your dog can heal.
  • Essential Fatty Acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids like DHA and EPA are an essential part of any dog’s diet but are particularly important for skin and coat health.
  • Supplements. In addition to protein and essential fatty acids, your dog needs a blend of vitamins and minerals in its diet for skin support. Fresh fruits and vegetables are natural sources of key nutrients but chelated minerals and probiotics are beneficial additions to look for as well.

Keeping each of these things in mind, now it’s time to learn how to choose the best dog food for skin allergies. Here’s what you need to know:

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies

The best place to start when choosing a dog food for skin allergies is to consider your dog’s basic nutritional needs. All dogs need a minimum of 18% crude protein and 5% crude fat in their diet – more when they are puppies – to maintain lean muscle mass and to fuel their metabolisms.

Protein is the most important nutrient for dogs and should come from high-quality animal sources. Keep in mind, however, that skin allergies are often caused by allergic reactions to common proteins such as chicken and beef, so you may want to choose something less common like fish or game meat. You may also want to choose a less common or grain-free carbohydrate to reduce the risk for allergies – sweet potatoes, legumes, and other vegetables are good options.

Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy but, more importantly, it nourishes your dog’s skin and coat. Your dog needs a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the best sources are animal-based. Look for things like chicken fat and salmon oil with plant-based sources like flaxseed and sunflower oil for supplementation.

Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for skin allergies.

The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Skin Allergies

Understanding what causes skin allergies in dogs is the first step toward choosing the right dog food to treat them. In addition to choosing a dog food that is unlikely to trigger your dog’s allergies, you should also choose one that contains skin-supporting nutrients like essential fatty acids.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for skin allergies that you should consider:

Best Dog Food Overall for Skin Allergies: The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture– 8% Max

Caloric Content: 506 kcal/cup

If your dog suffers from skin allergies, it is important to find a dog food made with a limited number of high-quality ingredients. This Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe is an excellent choice because it contains just a handful of human-grade ingredients freeze-dried to preserve their nutritional content. This recipe is completely grain-free, highly digestible, and packed with healthy fats for skin and coat support.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Dehydrated Duck, Dehydrated Sweet Potato, Dried Navy Bean, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Egg, Dehydrated Parsley, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate.

Pros:

  • Made with a limited number of human-grade ingredients
  • Contains novel sources of protein and carbohydrates
  • Highly digestible and rich in essential fatty acids

Cons:

  • Some dogs dislike the texture of reconstituted dried food

Best Affordable Dog Food for Skin Allergies: Rachael Ray Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 20% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 321 kcal/cup

Many limited ingredient dog foods designed for skin allergies are pricey, but this Rachael Ray Just 6 Limited Ingredient Diet is very affordable by comparison. It contains just 6 main ingredients to reduce the risk for triggering food allergies and skin sensitivities, plus it is made with lamb as a novel source of protein. This recipe is nutrient-rich and free from artificial additives, plus it contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Ground Rice, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Pork Flavor, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Biotin, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Pros:

  • Made with just 6 main ingredients including novel protein (lamb)
  • Supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • No artificial additives, corn, wheat, or soy

Cons:

  • Not a grain-free recipe

Best Puppy Food for Skin Allergies: Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey & Potato Recipe Puppy Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 26% Min
  • Fat – 15% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 394 kcal/cup

This Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey & Potato Recipe Puppy Food is a great choice for puppies with skin allergies because it contains a novel source of protein and digestible carbohydrates. This recipe is made with a limited number of main ingredients to help reduce the risk for food allergies and skin sensitivities, plus it is rich in essential fatty acids from canola oil and fish oil. You’ll also be glad to know that it is free from fillers and artificial ingredients, and supplemented with probiotics and chelated minerals.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Oatmeal, Peas, Brown Rice, Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Canola Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Pea Fiber, Fish Oil (source of ARA-Arachidonic Acid and DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Salt, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Potassium Chloride, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, L-Threonine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Lysine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

Pros:

  • High protein content
  • Supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Highly digestible recipe and supplemented with probiotics

Cons:

  • Above Avg. in cost
  • Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Best Small Breed Dog Food for Skin Allergies: Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Small Breed Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 35% Min
  • Fat – 14.5% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 434 kcal/cup

If you’re in the market for a recipe formulated specifically for small breed dogs, you can’t do much better than this Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Small Breed Recipe. Not only is it made with a limited number of main ingredients to reduce the risk for allergies, but it contains a novel protein as well – turkey. This recipe is also grain-free with further reduces the risk for sensitivities and it contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin support.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Peas, Turkey, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Salt, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Turkey, Freeze Dried Turkey Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Turkey Heart, Rosemary Extract

Pros:

  • Made with novel protein and limited number of ingredients
  • Grain-free to reduce the risk for skin allergies and sensitivities
  • Contains a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin health

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other brands

Best Large Breed Dog Food for Skin Allergies: Nutro Limited Ingredient Large Breed Adult Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 20% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 475 kcal/cup

Formulated specifically to meet the nutritional needs of large-breed dogs, this Nutro Limited Ingredient Large Breed Adult Recipe is great for dogs with skin allergies. Not only does it contain a shorter list of ingredients, but it is made with a novel source of protein (lamb) and is entirely chicken-free. In addition to being highly digestible, this recipe is particularly designed to nourish your dog’s skin and coat thanks to a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Potatoes, Dried Sweet Potato, Lentils, Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract

Pros:

  • Novel protein, chicken-free, and limited number of ingredients
  • Highly digestible with grain-free carbohydrates
  • Supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

Cons:

  • Customer reviews suggest that some dogs don’t like the flavor.
  • Kibble size very small – not best suited for large breed dog

How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?

There is no hard and fast answer to this question because every dog is different. How much you feed your dog depends largely on its breed, size, and age. Puppies and small breed dogs need to be fed more often than large breed dogs to sustain their growth and fast metabolisms. Older dogs need fewer calories to prevent obesity, and all dogs need at least two meals a day.

The best way to determine how much to feed your dog is to check the feeding recommendations on the package. These are decided by your dog’s age and weight, so as long as you are feeding a dog food made for your dog’s size (think small breed versus large breed dog food), these recommendations should be fairly accurate. Just keep an eye on your dog’s weight and condition to make sure he’s not getting too many calories or too few.

What Else Can You Do for Skin Allergies?

Feeding your dog a diet rich in skin-supporting ingredients is important, but there are also helpful ways to supplement its diet. Adding a little canned food to your dog’s routine can add moisture to its diet, and to its skin. Providing plenty of fresh drinking water is essential and supplementing your dog’s diet with healthy fatty acids like flaxseed oil or fish oil could be helpful as well.

In addition to choosing a healthy diet for your dog, you can also improve its skin allergies by giving it a bath with some kind of skin-soothing shampoo and conditioner. Natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe can sooth your dog’s itchy, irritated skin and help moisturize it so it can heal. After bathing, simply towel your dog dry instead of using a blow dryer because that could be too drying.

Best Dog Food for Skin Allergies: Summed Up

Choosing the best dog food for skin allergies can be tricky because it may not always be obvious which ingredient is causing your dog’s allergic reaction. The best thing you can do is choose a recipe made with novel protein and carbohydrate sources and feed it consistently until your dog’s symptoms resolve. From there you can introduce common allergens one at a time until you’ve identified the culprit or simply keep feeding your dog the recipe that works. To get started, try one of the best dog foods for skin allergies that we’ve reviewed above.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *